Remember how, not too long ago, you were able to control the entire flow of information that exists about yourself? You had the ability to, without much effort, control just what people knew about you and how they could find out about it. This, unfortunately, isnt true anymore. There are plenty of different ways that others can find out information about you. This is bad enough for those who work off of the internet in “regular” jobs. For people who work online, however, it is even tougher. These days, an errant tweet could cause you to lose sales.

So, what must you do? Whats the game plan? The real way to keep your reputation immaculate is to be professional at all times both online and offline. Heres how you do it.

1. Its crucial that every last piece of writing you compose is spelled and punctuated right. Its not important if youre only sending a short instant message to someone or crafting your sales page. Spelling and grammar are a must. After all, you dont want someone to discover something that is riddled with grammar and spelling errors, do you? It indicates you have no idea about what youre doing.

2. Make sure you answer each online message and phone call. When you respond, ensure that you are cordial and confident and courteous. Never let an e-mail sit for more than 24 hours without a response. Dont allow voice mail messages to stagnate unreturned. Each and every phone call has to be answered before the third ring. These are little things but they will speak volumes about your commitment to your job.

3. Respond to criticism with politeness and positivity. The internet is full of people whose primary aims are to make you feel terrible about yourself. At the same time, there are those who are going to have justified complaints about what you are offering or how you are offering it. It is important to earnestly consider every last critique and to look into whether or not its possible to make the changes the person wants from you without it being detrimental to your business. Then communicate with the critic and explain to him or her whether or not you are going to implement changes based on his or her feedback. This demonstrates that you take everybody seriously, not only those who compliment you.

4. Check your social media! Its super easy, while you are in the social media realm, to forget that youre not a typical user; that you are representing your business. The people you are talking to might be fine with a very chatty tweet or Facebook message. If somebody happens to see the communication, however, he may not feel that you are very serious about your business.

5. Be yourself as much as you can. No one has ever declared that you need to shove yourself down and not be yourself. The real fact is that perhaps the best way to set yourself apart from the competition is to let your personality shine. Still, at the same time, dont forget that you are a representative of your business, so try to keep your best face forward.

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